(Disclaimer: The thoughts in this post are the views of Speed on the Beat and do not necessarily reflect the views of all involved with Thee Arteest, even though I hope they do. Seriously, there’s got to be a better way)
It seems that this year is the year of the Duck(worth), as Mr. “I Tuck [Sensitive] Rappers Back into Pajama Clothes” has yet another headline-stealing week.
Hot on the heels of avoiding a potential split of Black Hippy (read: as real as Santa Claws), Kendrick pulled his best Kanye West impression and, per reports, decided to ditch the GQ Man of the Year Party. You know, the same “award” that he just won a little while ago and looked quite uncomfortable on the cover for? His decision stems from the rapper feeling (potentially rightfully so) some type of way about how the magazine portrayed him and his image. This seems to be a constant theme with the BH camp – and rappers as a whole these days. Sheesh! What happened to the days when outsiders – not [just] those outsiders, Lord Jamar – observed and kept it at that. Oh, wait, they never happened. But, I digress.
This whole thing stinks of some sort of post-racism racism (if you want to read more about my thoughts on that as a whole, check out this link). I mean, let’s look at some of the things the interviewer said about Kendrick and hip-hop as a whole. During his time with Lamar, Steve Marsh states that “[he didn’t see] anyone roll even the thinnest spider leg of a jay, nor did [he] see Kendrick so much as glance at the many, many girls around him.” Essentially, the writer is surprised–flabbergasted, even–that this group of young blacks didn’t revert to their “tribal” roots and attempt to have sex with every woman within earshot and/or get blitzed out of their minds while toting “gats” out the windows. Now, I don’t know Steve Marsh. I have nothing to go off of his knowledge of rap music–or, hell, even black people–other than what he’s giving us here (and his profiles of NBA players’ style choices). And what he’s giving us is stereotyped-seeped drivel that’ll do nothing but further the idea that blacks are dangerous (and those who aren’t are one in a million). And let’s not even get into the Kendrick/Suge Knight comparison or I’ll drop more four-letter words than K. Michelle’s body suit dropped jaws. But, we, to a degree have to wonder: is it up to Steve Marsh to write a piece on Kendrick Lamar that presents him accurately? Or is it up to Marsh to present him in a way that is easy for the majority of the GQ audience to get into (in other words, the “non-threatening, but still threatening, negro boy from the ‘hood that’s trying to be respectful of people’s sensibilities while still showcasing ‘real n-word ish'”) and then either rally around or reject?
I wish it was the first one.
Inversely, and not even rap-related (but still related to the problems I’m speaking on here), there’s a big brouhaha brewing about this “knockout” game. I’m not going to go into specifics, but it involves groups of teens stalking people to attempt a one-hit knockout on. Most of these groups are, per reports and videos, groups of young black kids. This isn’t a new thing! Similar situations, such as the Bum Fight videos, snuff films, and so on, have been in existence for years! But, the media will show–and then focus on–young black kids hitting old Jewish guys, children, and women because it allows for a more “victim versus aggressor” picture. If it were a group of white kids, it’d still be promoted/pursued, but seemingly in a way akin to those prankster kids who were throwing milk jugs at people, based on reactions seen in similar instances of civil disobedience. Groups of young black men scare people. Groups of young blacks hitting people? Exponentially more so.
Now, I want you to know this: I do not dislike white people. I’m part white myself on my father’s side. Some of my best friends are indeed white and have been there for me in trying times even more than my black friends. I think that black people sometimes allow for these stereotypes to continue. I also think that black people sometimes focus on the wrong things in our community. Ultimately, I want peace and unity and all that warm and fuzzy stuff. But, enough is enough, from both sides of this debate! How many more Trayvon Martin’s and George Zimmerman’s (on any and every side) will we have to go through before people finally stop acting like morons about race? It’s a touchy subject, and one I didn’t expect to get into on this level in this post, but it’s one that needs to be talked about.
Am I the best person to talk about it? Probably not. But, someone’s got to start the talk, lest we all just let our society fall, fail, and falter.
P.S.: Check out the GQ Article here and let us know how you feel about this issue.